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France, whom Aga Mohamed closely resembled, alike
in his tortuous policy, his aversion to display, and his
strange devotional fervour. As a ruler he was not faced
with the difficulties of Nadir Shah, being singularly
fortunate in the unaggressive character of his two im-
portant neighbours, Turkey and Afghanistan. Although
not a great soldier, he overcame all rivals, mainly through
his judgment and practical capacity, and thereby succeeded
in once more uniting Iran. Oderint dum meiuant might
have been his motto, but he lived in a cruel age when
might was right. It must be placed on record to his
credit that after his authority had been established the
roads became safe and trade prospered, whereas under
Nadir the country had been depopulated.
The Accession of Path Alt Shah.—The body of Aga
Mohamed was left unburied in the wild confusion that
followed his death. The army for the most part broke
up and dispersed, but the influence of Haji Ibrahim kept
together a sufficient force to march to Teheran in support
of Fath Ali, the nephew and heir of the deceased
Shah. The capital was held in his behalf by a Kajar
chief, and upon his arrival from Fars, of which he was
governor, he was admitted and instantly proclaimed Shah.
Various Pretenders.—Sadik Khan Shakaki, who after
the assassination of Aga Mohamed had secured possession
of the crown jewels, collected fifteen thousand Kurds and
made a bid for the throne. He marched on Kazvin, and
was defeated in its vicinity by Fath Ali Shah, whose force
was only half that of his rival. Sadik Khan fled and pur-
chased his pardon, not once but twice, by means of the
crown jewels. Another claimant was Mohamed Khan, son
of Zaki Khan Zand, who gained possession of Isfahan, but
was soon driven out to the Bakhtiari Mountains. Aided
there by some Kurds, he attempted to surprise a Persian
army under Mohamed Vali Khan, but was defeated,
captured, and blinded. A third pretender was Husayn
Kuli Khan, brother of the Shah. This prince had done
good service against Sadik Khan and had been rewarded
by the Governorship of Fars. There he wasted his time
in pleasure and dissipation until, resenting the appoint-